Annika M. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Hanover High School in New Hampshire.
It’s been over one month since I packed up my life, said goodbye to my friends, family, and hometown and arrived in Rennes. In many ways it feels like only a week has passed since meeting all of my classmates, teachers, and meeting my host family, but I also feel like I’ve known everyone for years. Sometimes I’m surprised by how quickly I’ve adjusted to my new life here, like when I’m walking to the bus stop and realize how habitual it seems, or when I’m buying a crêpe after school with my friends and recognize the workers at the crêpe stand. It’s the little repetitive pieces of my life that make me feel like Rennes is becoming my home. Not every day is easy, and sometimes I feel like a fish out of water, like when I can’t understand what my host family is trying to say, or when I need to get out Google Maps because I get lost, but I’ve realized that not every day has to be perfect to be a good day. Some of my best days have been the ones where I’ve gotten lost or struggled through a complex conversation in French with my teachers or host family.
So many parts of my life are SO good right now, but to spare both you and me the time, I’ll write about just a few of the best parts.
1. The food
The food in France is, as most people believe it to be, some of the best in the world. Whether it’s my host mom’s galettes at a Saturday lunch or a delicious pain au chocolat after school, the food here cannot be compared to anywhere else in the world. I’ve found that in France, food is treated with more respect than in the US. Consequently, meals are often longer and more sacredly ritualistic. On the weekend, I have a homemade lunch with my host family on both Saturday and Sunday, something that rarely would happen at my house in the US. But I love spending this quality time with my host family, and I’ve definitely found that mealtimes are the best times to practice my language skills.
2. My friends
Coming into SYA, I was definitely nervous about making friends. If there’s one thing I shouldn’t have been nervous about, it’s that. When everyone is in a similar situation, when everyone is struggling, succeeding, and almost living together, making friends is really easy. Being in a small school class of only 33, almost everyone is friends. Obviously there are smaller groups, but everyone has a general respect for one another and wants to watch each other grow and succeed.
Everyday, I look forward to going to school. That’s a sentence I never thought I would say in my life, but here, at SYA, that sentence is so true. I like all the classes I am taking, especially the electives I signed up for: art history, politics, and environmental science. I also really enjoy my teachers because they are all not only interested in what they are teaching, but also want each of us to be interested in the subject as well. Even homework, which basically no student likes, doesn’t seem that bad here; all my homework has a purpose and I feel very accomplished when I finish an assignment. I’m also loving our school schedule which entails only three and a half days of regular classes a week. Despite this shortened school schedule, I’ve learned more this month during my classes and Thursday Fieldwork than ever before.
As I sit and write this, I still can’t really comprehend that I’m in France, and I also can’t believe that by the end of this month, I will have been here for two months...so crazy! Time really does fly when you’re having fun!
- Campus Reporters
- SYA France